­IWCS discusses superintendent search

Published 9:40 am Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Isle of Wight County School Board’s discussion on Thursday — without coming to any resolution — included the issue of whether to look outside or inside the school system for a new superintendent. Earlier this week, Dr. Katrise Perera announced that because of a family matter she must give resign, but will stay to the end of the school year, which is June 30.

One option to aid in the search is the Virginia School Board Association, which could be expensive.

“I feel we need some assistance,” said Julia Perkins, chairwoman and Windsor zone representative.

Robert Eley of the Carrsville area asked, “Why look outside the district when we have qualified people here, and are proven to do the job?”

Perera later said that there’s a difference between someone who is qualified versus certified.

He believes that bringing in a person from the outside would “probably change the atmosphere here. I’m not a betting man, but if I were I’d say 80 percent of the workforce you have today would change. That’s what superintendents do.

“This school system is getting better daily, and I would really hate to go outside of our district.”

Smithfield’s Denise Tynes shares Eley’s feeling.

“We’re on a successful road. Rather than rush out, let’s see what we have here,” she said.

Kent Hildebrand of the Newport area looked ahead to when the board could change by four members following elections next November. The terms for Perkins, Tynes, Hildebrand expire at the end of next year; later this month Tina Hill of the Hardy District is leaving also for a family-related issue.

“I’m trying to think what that new board would like…Go internally first, then if nobody qualifies, go outside,” he said.

Perkins said she didn’t intend to imply the board look outside only.

“The transition can be as smooth as we wish it to be,” she added. “I just feel it’s good to look outside.”

Hildebrand then pointed out there’s a cost for an outside search. The last one was around $25,000.

He asked Christina Berta, executive director of Budget, Finance and Operations, “Do we have $25,000?”

Berta, who is leaving next month for a similar position on the Peninsula, replied no, and later said that since the school system is categorically funded the board would have to approach the county supervisors for making such an arrangement.

“It will be behoove us to move as quickly as possible,” Hildebrand said at one point. But time is on the board’s side for now. The attorney first said the members aren’t required to follow a particular procedure in selecting a new superintendent. Further, the board has 180 days from the vacancy to name a person.

The idea of having a survey to ask the public what it wants in a superintendent was also considered, and Perera offered to make a checklist of what’s needed.

The board tabled taking any action, and will bring up the matter again at the next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 8.

“I feel we should think on it,” Tynes said. “I want to give everyone time to think on it.”